Sunday, September 1, 2019

Israel’s Stand: Thwarting Terrorism by Decimating Hezbollah Essay

Another specter of fear surged around the globe recently and the terrorist group Hezbollah is the one to be blamed. Terrorism is not only a threat by itself because it sows fear in a nation of civilians and their neighbors. Most terrorist groups like Hezbollah are more dangerous than â€Å"loners† and â€Å"crazies† because they are not crazed at all. These people believe that to spark terrorism is a right thing to do. Ultimately, the goal of Hezbollah is to force the Israel government to respond to their violence in a harsh manner, in the hope that such repression will lead to discontent among the people and would lead it to bow down to their selfish interests. In this case, we could deem that terrorists believe that they could use their tactics to forward their goals — to destabilize governments and occupational forces. Such terrorism is directed at a specific goal that is easy to articulate and understand, such as overthrow of the current political regime. On the other hand, radical Islamic believers’ frequently state goal of terrorist groups is to promote a certain religious system or protect a set of beliefs within a religion. This kind of terrorism is called religious terrorism. A good example of this type of terrorism is the use of jihad, or holy war, by Islamic fundamentalists who wish to protect their religion from â€Å"creeping secularism and cultural imperialism posed by Western countries such as the United States† (Ali and Bowe, 1988). Israel, as a nation, has gone through the most grueling conditions. Its politics at large have been strongly influenced by two seemingly contradictory forces: the Jewish people’s long history of persecution and repression-culminating with the systematic killing of about six million Jews during World War II. Also, as a consequence of the Holocaust, many people stood negatively upon the violent creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and until now it threatens their country’s militant record and continuously adding to their violent history. The haunting memories of the Holocaust and the conflicts between Israel, its neighbors and the Palestinians have profoundly shaped Israeli society, psyche and politics. The reaction of Israel to the recent conflicts with Hezbollah could be deemed as it really wanted to put a stop to their violent history. Even before, major terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah, oppose the existence of Israel and reject the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. They have pledged to continue terrorism against Israel’s Jews until all of Palestine is liberated and not one inch of it is under Jewish control. For them mere contiguity is irrelevant. Essentially, these terrorists groups are closed to the idea of â€Å"compromise† because they want everything. In mid-July 2006, the leader of Lebanon-based Hezbollah announced that his militant Islamic group had captured two Israeli soldiers. The Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, asserted that the soldiers would only be returned through a combination of dialogue and prisoner exchange. He added that the operation had been planned in advance of the capture of another Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants in Gaza. Underscoring his militant stance, the head of Hezbollah also said that if Israel wanted to escalate the crisis, his group would be ready to deal with a possible confrontation. The Israeli government held urgent cabinet meetings regarding the situation and approved a strong military offensive in Lebanon — in response to Hezbollah’s actions and also for the purpose of finding the two captured soldiers. Israel warned that it would hold Lebanon responsible for the fates of the two captured soldiers, pointing to the fact that Hezbollah had been allowed to attack Israel from within Lebanese borders with impunity and irrespective of the parameters of international law. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert characterized the actions of Lebanon-based Hezbollah as an â€Å"act of war. † The Israeli leader’s promise of â€Å"painful† and â€Å"far-reaching† consequences was issued just as its forces launched a military assault on southern Lebanon. The initial assault left several Israeli troops and civilians dead, even as roads as well as Hezbollah interests were attacked within Lebanon. As an organization, Hezbollah essentially means â€Å"Party of God† but their aims do not necessarily imitate â€Å"godly† actions. Their history emanated to help the Islamic Revolutionary Guards fight active opponents who demonstrated in the streets. The name was used as early as 1973 by Ayatollah Mahmood Ghaffary in Iran. It was resurrected in 1978 in one of the revolution’s slogans: â€Å"Our Party Is the Party of Allah and Our Leader Is Ruh Allah. † The so-called party consisted of a thousand young thugs who infested Tehran’s poor neighborhoods. For a modest monthly allowance, they waged street battles against members of more sophisticated political groups. In contrast to its beginning, the â€Å"party† today boasts a membership of more than one million adherents in Iran alone. Its offshoots in Muslim countries, Europe, and America act as operatives and as a vanguard for the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Lebanon, the party also has a powerful military wing that has bombed Israel and given assistance to militant groups like Hamas in the Gaza Strip (Hoveyda 94). Just last year, Hezbollah challenged United States as Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the main Hezbollah leader taunted the Bush administration’s claim that Lebanon was part of the U. S. -supported democracy wave. â€Å"You are wrong in your calculations in Lebanon,† he said in a Pro-Syria rally in Beirut. â€Å"Lebanon will not be divided. Lebanon is not Somalia; Lebanon is not Ukraine; Lebanon is not Georgia†. In an interview, the leader was quoted saying: â€Å"Forget about your dreams of Lebanon. What you did not win in war, I swear, you will not win with politics† (Fattah A1). Clearly, Nasrallah is inviting conflicts and not interested to talk about peace. Feldman of the New York Times Magazine stated that Israel is the only democratic society in a region where autocratic states exist, where they tolerate terrorist groups like the Hezbollah. With the Iraqi war’s success in stopping Al-Qaida, it assumed the democratic stance of the United States in their counter-terrorism initiatives. As the Hezbollah now is forwarding its aims by elections, it won the by popularity in Lebanon. It left no choice to Israel but to stage the attacks to decimate the Hezbollah terrorists once and for all (9). With this cause to topple Hezbollah, the Israeli Left which is accustomed to damn every government, has rallied behind Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The national unity is as impressive as the determination. Only that one difficulty for Israel, while Hezbollah is the overt enemy, the real authors of this crisis is Iran and its opportunistic sidekick Syria. Arab states and their terrorist groups have discovered that attempts to wipe out Israel do irremediable damage to themselves. Iran’s Shiite leaders believe that their messianic Islamic revolution can achieve the victory that eluded the secular or Sunni Arabs. The terrorist organization Hezbollah is just the frontline weapon for the purpose, supposedly a vanguard of Shiite supremacy but in reality just a group of mercenaries that Tehran arms, finances, and disavows all in the same breath (National Review 19). Furthermore, the National Review indicated that: In the past, Israel has killed Hamas leaders, and in the present operations it has detained a number of others. Like Hezbollah, Hamas is paid and sponsored by Tehran, but its followers are Palestinian and Sunni, and it is conceivable that Israel will agree to a cease-fire and the exchange of the Hamas leaders it holds for Cpl. Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas. No such deal is possible with Hezbollah, in part because it is an existential threat in a way that Hamas is not, and in part because Tehran would never accept it, even as it twisted any humanitarian negotiating position that Israel might adopt into evidence of weakness and surrender. Israel has killed previous Hezbollah leaders, and arrested others, and now it is destroying Hezbollah’s infrastructure, its headquarters, Al-Manar television station, and much else. If commandoes or aircraft close in on Nasrallah, the likelihood is that he will do a bin Laden and go to ground in Syria or Iran. Whatever happens, and however long it may take, Hezbollah has to be pushed back far enough to leave its arsenal of missiles unthreatening to Israel. Such an eventuality could only encourage the Lebanese at last to settle accounts with these gunmen in their midst. As further conflicts rise in the efforts of Israel, United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan expressed shock at the â€Å"apparently deliberate targeting of the post,† especially since he claimed that Israel had assured him of the safety of United Nations personnel. Israel responded by conveying its regret over the matter. Some Israeli spokespersons criticized Annan for â€Å"irresponsibly† accusing their country of deliberate action before an investigation could be carried out. A day later, an initial report into the deaths of the United Nations peacekeepers was released. The report indicated that despite repeated contacts by the United Nations — 10 in total — with Israeli troops regarding the closeness of Israeli strikes in the area, and regardless of promises from the Israelis that the shelling would stop, the United Nations post was hit by a precision-guided missile following a period of about six hours of constant shelling. Although we are aware of the extent of damage that Israel is pushing against the Hezbollah, Israel is still taking full responsibility about the matters of not including civilians. It is the Hezbollah to blame because they are using the civilian as â€Å"shields† to their ongoing skirmishes. As Hezbollah is getting the media mileage by appealing to the world that Israel is ganging up on innocent civilians. On the ground in the conflict zone, Israeli troops experienced one of their bloodiest and most challenging days. Eight soldiers died and around 22 were injured in clashes with Hezbollah; it was the most significant loss of troops to Israel since the start of the conflict. The clashes ensued at Bint Jbeil — the very town that Israel said it had taken control of a day earlier. In a separate incident of fighting, a ninth Israeli, this time an officer, was killed. In the city center of Tyre in Lebanon, a huge explosion destroyed a multi-storey complex, supposedly regarded as the offices of another Hezbollah commander. On the other side of the border, Hezbollah continued its rocket assault on Israel, leaving about 31 people injured. It was estimated that Hezbollah was firing rockets at a rate of over 100 per day into Israel. Hezbollah seems to be applying the approach similar to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida’s. Bin Laden has used his ties with al-Qaida to conduct a worldwide campaign of terrorism. The primary goal of Bin Laden and his supporters is to liberate Palestine, with secondary goals of removing the Saudi ruling family from power and driving Western military forces and their corrupt, Western-oriented governments from predominantly Muslim countries. Most Islamic fighters have no interest in strategies of authentication or existential realization and no interest in Marxist theories of emancipation. But, in one respect, their actions echo stunted ideas that the act of terror not only had an expressive meaning, but an existential meaning as well. To wit, even suicide can be life affirming (Coker 291). Terrorism should be thwarted at once before it could sow more damaging effects in the future. The nation of Israel has unified for this aim because, in the real sense, they have had enough of these radical terrorist groups that has threatened them over the years. It is time for Israel to find out whether there is a democratic antidote to the poisons that have long been flowing around their borders. Yes, action entails risk. But so does inaction. Like the catastrophe of 9/11 was only the most dramatic consequence of a quarter-century of inaction, of denying that the rise of radical Islamism and terrorism were matters to be taken seriously around the globe. Works Cited Coker, C. â€Å"War Without Warriors†. In Global Responses to Terrorism: 9/11, Afghanistan and beyond, Buckley, M. & Fawn, R. (Eds. ) (pp. 284-295). New York: Routledge, 2003. Fattah, Hassan M. â€Å"Pro-Syria Party in Beirut Holds a Huge Protest,† The New York Times, March 9, 2005, p. A1. Feldman, Noah. â€Å"Ballots and Bullets†, New York Times Magazine. (New York, Jul 30, 2006): 9-12. Hoveyda, Fereydoun. The Broken Crescent: The â€Å"Threat† of Militant Islamic Fundamentalism. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998. National Review. The Israeli Front, 58. 14 (New York, Aug 7, 2006): 14. Pro-Syria Party in Beirut Holds a Huge Protest Hassan M. Fattah, Jad Mouawad contributed reporting for this article.. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N. Y. : Mar 9, 2005. pg. A. 1 Copyright New York Times Company Mar 9, 2005 Shouting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese poured into central Beirut on Tuesday in a show of strength by the militant Shiite Muslim party Hezbollah, which opposes a withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. The enormous crowd, in which many had been bused in from the Shiite slums of southern Beirut, was far larger than the anti-Syrian demonstrations of recent weeks that have drawn broad international support. It offered a defiant challenge to the Lebanese opposition forces that have insisted on Syrian withdrawal and exposed fault lines of class and ideology. †Today, you decide the future of your nation and your country; today, you answer the world,† the Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said in a rare and surprise appearance. Banners held aloft read: †No to American-Zionist intervention. Yes to Lebanese-Syrian brotherhood. † President Bush, speaking later in Washington, stepped up pressure on Syria to withdraw its 14,000 troops before Lebanon’s elections in May, saying the forces of authoritarianism across the Middle East are facing a fast-moving wave of popular opposition. The emergence of democracy in Lebanon, he said, would amount to a ring on †the doors of every Arab regime. † [Page A10. ] The participants at the demonstration here represented, by and large, a very different Lebanon from the educated, better-off Christians, Druse and Sunni Muslims who have captured the world’s attention since Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister, was assassinated Feb. 14 by a huge car bomb. While the anti-Syrian opposition movement has been called the Cedar Revolution, a reference to the Lebanese national tree, it has also been called the BMW revolution. The demonstration included far more women with covered heads and many men in traditional dress. Since the killing of Mr. Hariri, a billionaire who resigned as prime minister to protest Syrian domination of Lebanon, many Lebanese parties have called for the complete withdrawal of Syrian troops, which have been here since 1976. Backers of the withdrawal have taken to the streets in demonstrations reminiscent of the events in November in Ukraine, where a rigged election was overturned partly through popular rallies. The Lebanese opposition blames Syria for Mr. Hariri’s death, a charge Syria has denied. Hezbollah, or the Party of God, had remained quiet until Tuesday despite invitations by the opposition to join. The opposition has been struggling to demonstrate that it is the voice of the majority while becoming a favorite cause of the Bush administration. †Freedom will prevail in Lebanon,† Mr. Bush said Tuesday. †The American people are on your side. Millions across the earth are on your side. † But Hezbollah, which the State Department classifies as a terrorist group, is now Lebanon’s best organized political party and maintains a militia of some 20,000 men. United Nations Resolution 1559, passed in September 2004, calls for both the withdrawal of all foreign forces and the disarmament of Lebanon’s militias. To Hezbollah and its followers, the foreign threat to Lebanon comes not from Syria but from Israel and its ally, the United States. Israel occupied part of southern Lebanon from 1982 until 2000 in order to prevent infiltrations from radical anti-Israel groups. Many Lebanese Shiites say Israel still has designs on their land and that the American-backed democracy movement is simply another form of American imperialism. †Forget about your dreams of Lebanon,† Sheik Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, said at the rally, speaking to Israel’s leaders. †What you did not win in war, I swear, you will not win with politics. † Speaking to the Bush administration, he said: †You are wrong in your calculations in Lebanon. Lebanon will not be divided. Lebanon is not Somalia; Lebanon is not Ukraine; Lebanon is not Georgia. † Ahmad Moussa, 22, a student at the rally, said: †We’re here to defend our liberty and our true sovereignty, the sovereignty of the resistance. The opposition wants to open the door to the Americans and to foreign intervention. We will stop them. † The demonstration was held in Riyadh al Solh Square a few blocks from Martyrs’ Square, where the opposition movement has held its demonstrations. The pro-Syrian demonstrators filled the open field in front of United Nations offices in Beirut, and stretched across nearby overpasses, roads and tunnels. Officially, the demonstration was sponsored by several political parties. But the rally was all Hezbollah, complete with well-designed banners, anthems, crowd control and a secret police infrastructure to ensure that things stayed peaceful. Hezbollah, which has 13 of the 128 seats in the Lebanese Parliament and hopes to expand its power as the country prepares for the May elections, clearly wanted to make a show of strength through the demonstration, challenging the opposition’s claim to represent the nation’s future. †I want to show the Americans, the French and the U. N. that we are the majority of the Lebanese and that we have a voice,† said Youness Ismail, 26, a restaurant owner from the poor southern suburbs, who had arrived in the square on Tuesday morning. †All they have done is make us promises they never kept, and now they are trying to use the international community to reoccupy us. † Like the opposition movement, the demonstrators waved Lebanese flags and called for national unity, while demanding the truth behind Mr. Hariri’s assassination. But the sea of people also raised photos of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Lebanese president, Emile Lahoud, an ally of Syria. Some banners read, †America is the source of terrorism. † †This is a goodbye party, not a show of support for Syria,† said the opposition leader Jibran Tuweini, editor of the Lebanese daily An Nahar. †If they wanted this to be a challenge to us, they would have brought their party’s yellow flags. But Hezbollah doesn’t want to burn its bridges with anyone because ultimately they will have to return to the Lebanese people once everything is over. † At Martyrs’ Square, opposition demonstrators who have been camping out expressed their frustration at the growing demonstration not far away. The roar of the crowd could be heard as the tents rustled in the wind, and many Hezbollah demonstrators walked past the opposition tents pitched at the square. The Lebanese Army showed up in full force to ensure that both groups were kept apart. †Shame on them — they are carrying flags and raising pictures of foreign leaders,† said Samer Samer, 57, who had brought his two sons to the opposition camp. †They’re like us; they want no foreign interference and want the U. S. , Israel and France out. But we also want the Syrians out too. † Fears that the growing political tension will lead to a resurgence of violence have grown in recent days as Lebanon’s political and sectarian fault lines have re-emerged. Lebanon’s rival groups fought a vicious civil war from 1975 to 1990, leaving parts of the country in ruins. †This is a delicate situation but not a dangerous one,† Mr. Tuweini, the opposition leader, insisted as he watched the demonstration on television from his office overlooking Martyrs’ Square. †I’m not worried about the unity of the Lebanese, but I am worried that car bombs and assassinations will happen as we try to defend it. † The demonstration came one day after Syria began a redeployment of its forces to the Bakaa region. But Mr. Assad and Mr. Lahoud said in a statement on Monday that a complete withdrawal would await negotiations with a future Lebanese government, raising the likelihood that Syrian soldiers will still be in the country during the elections in May. On Tuesday, Lebanese officials told The Associated Press that the main Syrian intelligence offices, along with Syrian troops, would be relocated by March 23, when the Arab League is to hold its annual summit meeting in Algeria.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.